Oct. 29, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - Sixth-ranked California clinched the Pac-10 men's soccer title today with a 4-1 victory over No. 14 UCLA in front of a season-high crowd of 2,815 (fourth-largest home crowd ever) at UCLA's Drake Stadium. Forward Javier Ayala-Hil had a hat trick to lead the Bears to their first Pac-10 Conference championship.
Ayala-Hil scored the first of his three goals at 11:49. The goal was created by Hector Jimenez, who sent a cross to Andrew Jacobson in the box. Jacobson headed the ball to the left side, and Ayala-Hil chested it down and one-timed it into the back of the net. The Bruins had few opportunities in the first half, recording just four shots to the Bears' 10. In one of the Bruins' best opportunities of the half, Jason Leopoldo had a shot in front of the box saved by Cal keeper Justin Myers.
The second half was a different story, however, as the Bruins came out with fire in their eyes. Leopoldo had a shot saved by Myers just 48 seconds into the second half, and then at 48:59, Cal defender Steve Purdy took down Kyle Nakazawa in the box, giving the Bruins a penalty kick. Nakazawa took the shot, but Myers made a diving save to his left to keep the ball out of the net. With the ball still in play, the Bruins recovered the loose ball, and Kiel McClung sent a cross to David Estrada, who headed the ball in past Myers for the equalizer. The goal was Estrada's team-leading sixth this season and his fifth goal in the last six games.
The Bruins had four more shots in the next six minutes to keep the pressure on, but Cal was the one to break through with the go-ahead goal. At 57:54, it was Ayala-Hil again with an unassisted goal from the top of the box into the left corner. Cal increased its lead to 3-1 at 64:25 when Purdy's free kick from 25 yards out bounced into the left corner past UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk.
Ayala-Hil got the hat trick with his third goal at 76:40, one-time a cross from Hector Jimenez into the goal from eight yards out.
The Bruins had a goal nullified in the 82nd minute by an offside call.
UCLA's record drops to 9-5-3, 4-3-2 in the Pac-10. Cal improves to 12-4-2, 7-2-0 in the Pac-10. The Bruins close out the regular season next week with a pair of home games against San Diego State on Nov. 3 and San Diego on Nov. 5.